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The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

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Sixty-fourth SCONA tackles issues of international and domestic terrorism

Attendees+at+MSC+SCONA+have+the+opportunity+to+interact+with+top+U.S.+officials.
Photo by Provided

Attendees at MSC SCONA have the opportunity to interact with top U.S. officials.

This week, 155 students from various universities are gathering on the Texas A&M campus for the 64th annual MSC Student Conference on National Affairs.
SCONA hosts prominent professionals from careers related to defense and security issues, including former and current civilian and military officials. The conference brings delegates from across the country to talk about topics of national and global significance through roundtable discussions and keynote speeches. The SCONA organization offers students numerous opportunities for networking and education, said international studies senior and MSC SCONA director of legacy Alexandra Goyco-Velez.
“We do a lot of different things — we have a spring program, and we have a fall program,” Goyco-Velez said. “The main thing we are known for, the main thing we focus on is the SCONA conference.”
This year’s conference theme is “Extinguishing the Flames of Fury: U.S. Strategy and Response in the Face of Global Terrorism.” Students will discuss various dimensions of the global effort against terrorism during 15 team roundtables — each focusing on a particular aspect of terrorism such as intelligence sharing, domestic terrorism, the refugee crisis, Chinese influence in Africa and targeted assassinations.
“We try and base every decision that we make, like every conference theme, based on current issues that are going on,” Goyco-Velez said. “We thought that with everything going on within the global range that terrorism would be a good option to choose that would be challenging and invite critical thought through each discussion.”
Each roundtable is led by a facilitator who has subject matter expertise in the fields they examine. Students are tasked with writing a presentation on their specific round-table topic in terms of its overall implication for U.S. and global counterterrorism.
Apart from the the group discussions, delegates will also attend three lectures on Thursday. The speakers will be Lt. Gen. Marshall Web, Commander of U.S Air Force Special Operations Command, Andrew Card, former chief of staff to President George W. Bush, and Ali Soufan, former FBI special agent and counter-terrorism expert.
“These are really challenging issues and the speakers clearly have the relevant expertise about dealing with terrorism,” Goyco-Velez said.
The conference will close on Saturday with a banquet for attendees. The guest of honor will be Commandant of the United States Army War College Maj. Gen. John Kem.
Goyco-Velez said that the conference is important in the development of future national security leaders and exposing students to some of today’s pressing global issues.
“We have speakers that are from all backgrounds,” Goyco-Velez said. “They are so inspirational and they truly make us the American leaders that we need to be in order to set the chord for the United States in the future.”

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